Most of the smaller fish (generally termed pan-fish) are usually fried. Clean well, cut off the head, and, if quite large, cut out the backbone, and slice the body crosswise into five or six pieces; season with salt and pepper. Dip in Indian meal or wheat flour, or in beaten egg, and roll in bread or fine cracker crumbs - trout and perch should not be dipped in meal; put into a thick bottomed iron frying pan, the flesh side down, with hot lard or drippings; fry slowly, turning when lightly browned. The following method may be deemed preferable: Dredge the pieces with flour; brush them over with beaten egg; roll in bread crumbs, and fry in hot lard or drippings sufficient to cover, the same as frying crullers. If the fat is very hot, the fish will fry without absorbing it, and it will be palatably cooked. When browned on one side, turn it over in the fat and brown the other, draining when done. This is a particularly good way to fry slices of large fish. Serve with tomato sauce; garnish with slices of lemon.
Place them in a thick bottomed frying pan with heads all one way. Fill the spaces with smaller fish. When they are fried quite brown and ready to turn, put a dinner plate over them, drain off the fat; then invert the pan, and they will be left unbroken on the plate. Put the lard back into the pan, and when hot slip back the fish. When the other side is brown, drain, turn on a plate as before, and slip them on a warm platter, to be sent to the table. Leaving the heads on and the fish a crispy-brown, in perfect shape, improves the appearance if not the flavor. Garnish with slices of lemon.
Hotel Lafayette, Philadelphia.
Carefully clean and wipe the fish, and lay in a dripping pan with enough hot water to prevent scorching. A perforated sheet of tin, fitting loosely, or several muffin rings may be used to keep it off the bottom. Lay it in a circle on its belly, head and tail touching, and tied, or as directed in note on fish; bake slowly, basting often with butter and water. When done, have ready a cup of sweet cream or rich milk to which a. few spoons of hot water has been added; stir in two large spoons of melted butter and and a little chopped parsley; heat all by setting the cup in boiling water; add the gravy from the dripping-pan, and let it boil up once; place the fish in a hot dish and pour over it the sauce. Or an egg sauce may be made with drawn butter; stir in the yolk of an egg quickly, and then a teaspoon of chopped parsley. It can be stuffed or not, just as you please.
After thoroughly cleaning it place in a saucepan with enough water to cover it; add two tablespoonfuls of salt; set the saucepan over the fire, and when it has boiled about five minutes try to pull out one of the fins; if it loosens easily from the body carefully take the fish out of the water, lay it on a platter, surround it with half a dozen hard-boiled eggs, and serve it with a sauce.